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August 2018 Searchlight

To read the August 2018 Searchlight on this page, scroll down or click the links below to see specific articles:

Minister’s Monthly Worship Message – Resilient Community Weaves In . . . Release

We have to continue to learn. We have to be open. And we have to be ready to release our knowledge in order to come to a higher understanding of reality.

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Last month’s theme explored the strength of resistance. This month’s paired theme examines the equal strength – and the necessity – of release. Resistance feels pro-active and productive… release less so. And yet, knowing when to let go – of what we thought we knew, of how things have always been, of our need to be in charge – is an essential skill to our resilience as individuals and as a community.

At the end of this month, we will be sharing our annual water ceremony, and I have always thought water has much to teach us about release – the way it moves and flows without attachment to course, the way it slips and slides away from every attempt to contain it, the way we float when we release our striving into its buoyancy.

This month, I invite you to consider the power and the strength of letting go.

See you in church!
Rev. Molly

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August Worship Schedule – 10:30 a.m.

Sunday, Aug. 5 – “All Are Called” – UUCC General Assembly Delegates

This year’s annual Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly was held in Kansas City, Mo., where about 20 members from our church gathered with thousands of other UUs from all over the country for five days of learning, inspiration, and the business of the association. Join us to hear reflections from our delegates!

Sunday, Aug. 12 – “All the Way Down” – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon

A fractal is “an infinitely complex pattern that is self-similar across different scales, the same small as it is large.” Join Rev. Molly to find out what fractals have to do with daily life, our community, and the work of justice and love.

Sunday, Aug. 19 – “Being UU in an Era of Blood-Sport Politics” – Steve Scott

The current era of blood-sport, winner-take-all politics marked by xenophobia and hyper-nationalism may feel new and different, but it’s actually a recurring pattern in American history. How can we as UUs resist these ugly phenomena while remaining true to our principles?

Sunday, Aug. 26 – “Thousands of Pails” – Annual Ingathering and Water Ceremony – Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder

Join us for our beloved ingathering ceremony as we mingle waters of refreshment and renewal and reflect upon how we are sustained in our community. If you are able, bring water either from or symbolic of a place that has renewed your spirit over the summer months.

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Forum – August 2018 – 9 a.m. Sundays

The UU Forum, an adult discussion group open to the public, meets on Sundays from 9 to 10 a.m. Conversation and light refreshments are offered along with the discussion. Forum coordinator: Bill Clark, 573-474-4510.

  • Aug. 5: Bill Clark will discuss “To ‘B’ or not to ‘B.’ “
  • Aug. 12: Dolores Clark will speak – subject to be announced.
  • Aug. 19: Bill Clark will discuss “Turning 86.”
  • Aug. 26: Connie Johnmeyer will tell us about her “Misadventures of a Unitarian in the Military.”

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President’s Perspective

Summer should get a speeding ticket.” – Unknown

By Barbara Rupp, 2018-19 President

Normally, summer seems the most fleeting of seasons to me (though I’m pretty sure that Missouri’s spring of 2018 lasted only about 10 days!). Still, even though I am not a fan of the heat and humidity of summer, it is a bit of a magical season for me. Kids are typically out of school, with no pressure about homework and tests. Some were lucky enough to have a family vacation, or at least some picnics, or a trip to a lake or river for a float trip. Sometimes just watching fireflies on a summer evening can bring some very special memories.

As summer winds down and fall schedules power up, I hope each of us can find moments within our weeks to remember the best of this summer or summers of our past and let those memories bring a smile to our face and needed feelings of relaxation when most needed.

This fall will bring plenty to keep us busy, and much that can bring us anxiety and stress. Let us help each other find those moments of summer when most needed.

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“Got Skills” Workshop – Saturday, Aug. 11, 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the church

Learn about our wildlife-friendly grounds. Share your knowledge of plants and wildlife. Serve by weeding, removing invasive plants and collecting seeds.

Join us afterwards for a PB&J Potluck. We will provide iced tea and lemonade and the makings for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You bring the veggies, fruit and cookies (keep it simple!).

All ages welcome for this family event. Children and youth under 15 must be accompanied by an adult.
Preregistration is requested – email Jan Weaver.

This event is sponsored by the Green Sanctuary Team and the Grounds Team.

The next Green Sanctuary team meeting is Tuesday, Aug. 14 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 2616 Hillshire Drive. All are welcome.

– Ellen Thomas, Team Leader

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Save the Date – Sunday School for Grown-Ups!

Join us as we launch a new adult religious education program starting this fall!

We’ll have something interesting on offer every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in two tracks:

  • Theology/Spirituality
  • Current Events/Social Justice.

This fall, we’ll be offering multi-session curricula on “What Moves Us: Unitarian Universalist Theology” and “Unitarian Universalists and Class.”

Childcare will be provided, and quarterly pot-luck dinners will offer learners the chance to connect and socialize. See you there!

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2018 UUA General Assembly: Inspiration, fellowship, social action – and business

The Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly was held this year from June 20 to 24 in Kansas City, Mo. What is GA? It’s part inspiration and spiritual sustenance. It’s an opportunity to mingle with UUs from all over the country and some other countries and engage in issues important to our UU faith. But also, it’s a time to conduct a lot of the business of the association.

This year there were 2,814 registered attendees, including 134 youth. 522 congregations from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Mexico were represented by 1,570 delegates, including 199 off-site delegates.

Our voting delegates this year were Rev. Molly, Todd Iveson, Peter Holmes, Gretchen Maune, Connie Ordway, and Steve Scott. About 15 other members of our church also attended all or part of GA, and a number of them served as volunteers performing various tasks to keep the show running, in exchange for which they received free registration for GA. For example, Maria Oropallo and Kathie Bergman staffed an information booth to answer questions from attendees, and Larry Lile assisted with the tech staff that provided audio/video services.

The business of the General Assembly takes place in General Sessions. All registered attendees are welcome at these sessions, but only voting delegates can vote.

At the business sessions there was broad consensus for aggressively challenging the criminalization of migrants, people of color, and indigenous people. Delegates overwhelmingly selected “Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy” as a multiyear Congregational Study/Action Issue.

Delegates also endorsed three Actions of Immediate Witness, which all emphasize the urgency of supporting people of color and indigenous people. The first calls for congregational action to draw attention to predatory medical fees charged to incarcerated people, who are disproportionately people of color; the UUA’s Church of the Larger Fellowship developed the resolution in partnership with its 870 incarcerated members.

A second resolution pledged solidarity with indigenous “water protectors,” who have been fighting the placement of liquid natural gas pipelines near Native American lands and who face federal charges for disrupting construction of the pipelines.

The third resolution demanded immediate action to improve U.S. treatment of asylum seekers and migrant families to keep families together. Among other demands, the resolution advocates the abolition of Immigration Customs Enforcement “and the implementation of a system that understands the causes of migration, provides a non-carceral solution while asylum seekers await a decision on their case, and has a fundamental commitment to keeping families together.”

Delegates also approved a group of bylaw changes to bring the UUA’s governing document up to date with current understandings of gender diversity. A proposal introduced last year to change Unitarian Universalism’s “Second Source” from “words and deeds of prophetic women and men” to “words and deeds of prophetic people” passed easily.

A second bylaws amendment changed all gendered pronouns in the bylaws to the gender-inclusive “they/them/their.”

A third bylaws amendment will allow religious educators who are active members of the Liberal Religious Educators Association to serve as voting delegates at future GAs.

The assembly also approved adding two youth trustees to the 11 at-large trustees on the UUA Board of Trustees; allowing the role of moderator at GA to be filled by more than one person; modifying the length of terms of service on committees; and simplifying the social witness resolutions process.

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Join the Denominational Affairs Team

The primary responsibility of our new Denominational Affairs Team is to act as a liaison between our congregation and both the Unitarian Universalist Association and the MidAmerica Region. The team will:

  • Meet to discuss issues of denominational concern.
  • Promote education on UUA General Assembly social justice statements in collaboration with other teams.
  • Foster an understanding of and commitment to what it means to be a responsible member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

Through these efforts, the Denominational Affairs Team will prepare a pool of people in our congregation to be delegates to the General Assembly and regional meetings.

For more information, contact Steve Scott at 573-442-1865 or by email.

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Planning to reduce noise as worship begins

A note from the Worship Associates Team

Our members and friends may recall that we had a couple of Congregational Conversations in February and March as part of our search for a new Music Director. The Worship Associates co-sponsored the first conversation because it specifically explored the relationship between music and the worship experience. Those conversations raised some concerns about our worship together that we want to address.

One of the things mentioned repeatedly was the level of noise in the sanctuary during the prelude. The prelude should be a time for congregants to center themselves and prepare for worship. In our congregation, it has become common for people to continue their conversations while entering the sanctuary, or after they’ve taken a seat, and sometimes even raise their voices over the music. Many found this disruptive to their own worship experience and/or disrespectful to musicians who’ve come to share their gifts of music with the congregation.

We know this isn’t intentional – we’re just a gregarious lot! And, as a congregation, we’ve not been all that clear about what we expect at the beginning of service. Our team identified several steps designed to rectify this situation. We will be experimenting with these ideas over the summer to see which have the most merit, and we want to let you know what to expect.

First, please be aware that the prelude starts a few minutes before the scheduled service time. We will let you know that the prelude is about to begin by ringing the bell, just as we do now. There will also be an announcement from the pulpit for those already seated. Ushers will then close all but one of the sanctuary doors. Signs on the doors will remind folks to enter quietly at that point (and also serve as a reminder for those remaining in the greeting area during the service that they should be mindful of how easily sound carries into the sanctuary).

We hope you’ll find that these changes help improve your worship experience. We’ll be revisiting what we think works (and doesn’t) at future team meetings. We welcome any comments and suggestions as we test the process this summer. Contact us by email.

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Social Action Ministry Teams

CROPWALK (Communities Responding to Overcome Poverty) – Sept. 23, 2018

Mark your calendars for the annual interfaith effort to raise funds to relieve hunger here in Columbia and Mid-Missouri, across the U.S. and around the world. This event is sponsored by Church World Service.

This year the event will be taking place at 2 p.m. Sept. 23 at Stephens Lake Park. Kids are welcome, and the Walk is designed for all levels of abilities.

Watch for the CROP Walk table in the greeting area during the weeks leading up to the Walk. You can sign up for the Walk and donate either at the table in the greeting area or at the Columbia CROP Walk website.

Email Allie Gassmann for more information.

Festival of Sharing

Rev. Mel West and his wife Barbara of Columbia, Mo. created the Festival of Sharing project 30 years ago. It started small but kept growing as more people wanted to participate. Our UU Church collaborates with 30 different Missouri faith groups to provide critical items to people in need.

We create packs and kits, with items requested by the trusted Missouri, national and international aid agencies. The agencies distribute our gifts via their own networks. Our kits, packs, special projects and monetary donations promote social justice by providing health, nutrition, disaster aid and education.

There are Festival of Sharing projects displayed on two tables in the greeting area of the church. We hope you will find a project that is meaningful to you. It is so satisfying to be helping someone less fortunate. You can sign up on the clipboards to indicate interest.

For more information, contact Marian Hjelmfelt at 573-449-5118 or 573-999-2265 or by email.

Faith-to-Action Nominations Requested for 2018-2019

The UUCC Social Action Team is accepting nominations for Faith-to-Action collection recipients until Oct. 1, 2018.

Nominations can be made by completing an online form or on a paper form available on the online form page or from the Church Administrator.

If the paper form is used, put the completed form in the Social Action Team mailbox at the church or mail it to: Social Action Team, Unitarian Universalist Church, 2615 Shepard Blvd., Columbia, MO 65201.

Selection Criteria: Nominees may be local, regional, national, or international organizations, programs, or agencies that align with our church mission and vision. Preference will be given to local or regional efforts where the congregation has an ongoing working relationship. For non-local efforts, preference will be given to those with an established connection to the UUA, UUSC or a regional UU ministry.

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Programs and Events

Kaleidoscope – Aug. 4

Kaleidoscope pagan gathering: Lughnassad, the Feast of the First Harvest. Juicy ripe tomatoes, and zucchini everywhere. The Earth once again gives of Her bounty. We join to celebrate Her gifts.

Gather with us at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 4 at the church. We will join in ritual, followed by a potluck and friendship. All are welcome, no matter what their personal paths.

For more information email Barbara Carter.

For Our Newcomers: ‘Getting to Know UU’ – Aug. 5

For all those who want to know more about us. On the first Sunday of each month in the minister’s office after the 10:30 a.m. worship service for about 30 minutes. Child care provided.

Conversations, Etc. – Aug. 8

All women who are free on the second Wednesday of the month (Aug. 8) at noon are invited to join Conversations, Etc. at church. Please bring a brown bag lunch.

We will enjoy the good company of friends. Hope to see you there!

If you have questions, call Melinda Farhangi at 573-445-6325.

Book Discussion – Aug. 10

The UUCC Book Discussion Group will meet at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10 at Bamboo Terrace, 3101 W. Broadway, Suite 101 (note time change).

Bring a book you have read to discuss briefly. If you have questions, call Pam Springsteel at 573-445-0642.

Men’s Group – Aug. 11 and 25

The UUCC Men’s Group meets on the second, fourth, and fifth Saturdays of each month at 8 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Executive Center. The group is open to all men. There are no fees and no reservations are necessary.

The agenda is an open discussion of whatever is on the minds of those in attendance – and breakfast!

For more information email Wiley Miller.

UUCC provides Loaves and Fishes meal on 3rd Sundays – Aug. 19

UUCC provides the evening meal at Loaves and Fishes on the third Sunday each month – Aug. 19 this month.

Please sign up here to prepare food for this meal and/or to help set up, serve, and clean up.

Serving meals at Loaves and Fishes is a project of our Social Action Team. If you have questions, email Diane Suhler.

Mindfulness Meditation Sundays at 9:30 a.m. Sundays

Join us for Mindfulness Meditation at 9:30 a.m. Sundays in the Centering Room or at the Fire Circle.

Meditators of all levels of experience are welcome. This is mainly silent meditation with some instruction, if needed, and with brief selected readings from eminent teachers.

For more information, email Peter Holmes.

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DRE’s August Message

This month, the theme of congregation is “Release.” This to me is one of the most difficult spiritual practices as a parent. We often approach parenting as if we are manufacturers, putting a product into the world. But our children are of course people, not products, and they will be who they will be. They will make the mistakes that they will make. They will make the choices that we wish they didn’t.

Releasing our expectations that if we just parent our kids a certain way will get guaranteed results is some of most important work as parents. This is true about everything in life, and being a parent is an amazing opportunity to practice doing something with our whole hearts without knowing what the outcomes will be. We do it because we love our children. We can apply that same expectation-less love to the whole world.

This month, some of us are sending kids off to Kindergarten, hoping for the best, but knowing that it is beyond our control. Others will be sending our kids off to college with the same sense of release. All of us will be watching our children make their own choices and mistakes. Let us all practice relaxing into that sense of release with love.

– Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education

August R.E. Schedule

  • Aug. 5: Classes: Landscaping
  • Aug. 12: Classes: Insects
  • Aug. 19: Classes: Videos
  • Aug. 26: Intergenerational Water Ceremony Service

R.E. Registration

As we gear up for the new R.E. year, it is time once again to complete an R.E. registration for your child(ren). It is important for our records to have all children who participate in R.E., from nursery to YRUU, register. We particularly need to know about allergies, photo release information, and contact information.

This year, we have made it easier for those of you who have registered in previous years and have no changes to your information from last year. Registration will just be a matter of writing your name and clicking the “Registration Information Unchanged” box midway down the page. You can register here on our church website, or paper registration forms are also available at church.

RE Volunteer Training – 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 18

All R.E. teachers and aides will be trained in everything you need to know to be prepared for volunteering in the R.E. year ahead. Newbies and veterans alike should attend so we can share our collective wisdom and help our children have the best R.E. experience. Breakfast will be served. Please RSVP by email.

Coming of Age Program Orientation for Parents and Youth – Noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 25

Come find out what our Coming of Age Program is all about and what information you need for the year ahead. Please RSVP by email.

Water Ceremony – 10:30 a.m. Aug. 26

Join us in our annual ritual to begin the new church year! Don’t forget to bring water from anywhere you have felt spiritually renewed this summer – a favorite water hole, a water bottle that came with you on your travels, or your backyard hose that you used to water your vegetables.

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Our Staff

Rev. Molly Housh Gordon, Minister
Office Hours:
    Tuesdays 1-4 p.m. at church
    Wednesdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Kaldi’s Coffee Downtown
    By appointment (including evenings and weekends)

Kathie Bergman, Administrator
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Telephone: 573-442-5764

Jamila Batchelder, Director of Religious Education
Office Hours: Wednesdays 10 a.m.-noon and by appointment

Marques Ruff, Interim Music Director
Rehearsals on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

April Rodeghero, Sunday Morning Assistant

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2018-2019 Board of Trustees

Barbara Rupp, President
Mindy McPherson, President-Elect
Todd Iveson, Past President
Patty Daus, Treasurer
Sam Buffaloe, Secretary
Mark Johnson
Peter Holmes
Gretchen Maune
Elaine Martin

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Searchlight Publication Information

The Searchlight is published monthly by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbia, Missouri.

Submissions: By email or postal mail to Church Administrator. The deadline for submissions is noon on the third Monday of each month for the following month’s edition.

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